J K Rowling should
half her cash
The Herald published a list of 'Scotland's (10) Richest' this week (how I would love to see a list of 'Scotland's 10 Poorest'), and it got me wondering where these 'rich' actually keep their money.
Does Joanne Rowling at number nine on the list with £560m (but up one place from last year with another £30m) have a safe in her Edinburgh home stuffed full of banknotes? Probably not. I expect it will be invested for her.
After reading Fraser Matheson's article in SR (1 May) about making the rich more responsible for a fairer distribution of wealth it struck me that maybe there was a simple solution, such as applying the fundamental principle of utiliatarianism, that is, to produce the greatest happiness for the greatest number.
If, for example, Ms Rowling gave 50% of her wealth or £280m in the form of repayable interest-free loans to young people wishing to start-up new businesses – say £50,000 each – then 5,600 new enterprises would be started virtually overnight. Allowing for some failures, most of that capital sum would be returned at the end of the loan term. Meanwhile Ms Rowling would be no less happy, and would surely be able to survive on the remaining £280m for a while, it being being the equivalent to the average annual income for a period of 40 years over 280 lifetimes.
It seems a bit unfair to single out someone who has brought pleasure to so many already, so let's include all of the top 10 on the list. Wow – 96,620 new businesses. Some, perhaps most, eventually generating profits which attract corporation tax and maybe even employing staff paying income tax. Sufficient perhaps to see tax reduced for those on the rich list. Win, win. No doubt they would all survive, happily, on their remaining capital until the loans were paid back or the tax reductions kicked in. The greatest happiness for the greatest number, or is it just a load of Hogwarts? So where's the catch? Apart that is from getting the super-rich to part with their cash.
In response to Jennifer Flueckiger's recent piece (24 April): Once upon a time we supported whoever was playing against England; now we get to support whoever is playing against Britain. Saor Alba.
Coinneach mac Raibeart
My response to John Cameron's recent piece in SR (3 May) is rage: how can this man not distinguish between a welcome (or perhaps even less than wholly welcome) new life, and the straw man he puts up of 'population control' (with implications, or even explications) of 'The New Eugenics'?
Intelligent information about birth control and family planning allows mothers and parents to make intelligent choices about having children. Please bear in mind the miseries and deprivation suffered by unwanted children in the course of their lives, and allow for some possibility of humans in difficult circumstances to postpone or cancel giving birth. People are capable of planning to be able to give their wanted children attention, care and consideration, along with planned allocation of their energy and money.
The population of the world in its megacities and in its deserted rural regions will struggle to feed itself. Science cannot provide the answer, despite the success in its time of the green revolution. The scandal of economic inequalities both between and inside nations and societies precludes the equitable allocation of resources. Cameron's assertion of 'global living standards rising with population growth' only holds good so far and no further.
Finally, I am horrified at the language of 'global warming hysteria' , when we are seeing the evidence unfold before us in the greater unpredictability of weather patterns and the effects on our flora and fauna – effectively impinging negatively on even our existing capacity to feed ourselves. Wake up, man, and look about you.
Mary MacCallum Sullivan
Watching PM question time last week I was appalled at the behaviour of Cameron and crew – the people that are making the decisions that affect all our lives. They were acting like very badly behaved hooligans, bullying, name-calling, and shouting each other down. What a terrible example of communicatioon skills, behaviour and democracy. If young people carried on like this in the classroom they would all be suspended.
These are the type of people that have been ruling us for hundreds of years and look where we are.
Why do we Scots not have the confidence to go for controlling ourselves? Are we a nation of wimps afraid to leave our ruling masters? We have been convinced we are second class, a race of underdogs not capable of looking after our own country. Let's stand together, tall and proud and willing to put in that extra mile. Let's go for it – we can't be any worse off. We have plenty of resources, great people, and amazing young people that need a chance to be proud of who they are.
Although the SNP can't be expected to fix hundreds of years of bad governance of Scotland in a few years, they have achieved a lot in a short space of time. Sure, there is a lot to be done, but let's have the courage and confidence to believe that we Scots can work together and make a better life for all our people. They are not perfect, But they are just up the road where we can keep an eye on them.
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